Saturday, July 5, 2014

Meet The Local Punk Bands!! Part 1

Today marks the first of at least two (maybe three) introductory posts to active Sault-area punk bands that we're officially rolling into our coverage, and we're starting with two of the most prominent straight punk bands of recent years, cult favourites who cross over into a very different genre, and arguably the biggest punk/alternative band to ever come out of the Soo! Remember, defunct or inactive bands with online pages will be addressed after active bands are covered, so don't fret if a specific band isn't in this post! Without any further adieu, let's begin, with today's bands in alphabetical order:

We'll start by welcoming local country punk quintet The Billy Bastards to the SMS, and I'm sure their ardent fan base will be happy to hear that! One of the oldest active punk bands in the Soo, The Billys don't play live all that often, but they've became local favourites since their 2006 launch, which has saw them play some big headlining and supporting gigs in the area! The first band to ever play at The Rockstar Bar upon it's opening, The Billy Bastards have recorded & released three CDs ("Bathe in Whiskey", "II", and "Back in the Bottle"), opened for prominent local bands like Lion Ride, and played a memorable set at the Kiss Battle of the Bands in 2009, though to fans' chagrin, they weren't sent to the finals. Former Harsh Heads drummer Aaron Gibbs fronts The Billys on vocals & guitar, and he's joined by guitarist/bassist John Conway (also of Destroilet), guitarists Paul Michael Stos (ex-Proposition 86) and Greg Beharriel, and drummer Charlie Yanni. The band was last seen on stage in December at The Rockstar Bar, though given their sporadic live appearances, who knows when fans might see them again.

Arguably the most unique punk band in the area, there's definitely a Hank III-esque spirit to The Billy Bastards, with songs taking from outlaw country and into a punk hybrid ferocity, so even if you're not a country music fan, there's a little something for both sides in their albums and live sets! I would like to get their albums for future reviews on the site (can anyone help?), but check out The Billy Bastards for a creative punk/country blend on Facebook, MySpace, CBC Music, and Bandmine, and here's a 2011 rendition of their song "Mile 58" (a frequent Destroilet cover) courtesy of Paul's YouTube channel, which also has 5 more videos from this same show!

Our second "new" band addition is local punk trio The Northern Tragedy, who many of you guys will be familiar with from various recent concerts! Launched in late 2012, their lineup features ex-Changing Waves bassist Terrence Gomes on vocals & drums, alongside guitarist Mike Ivany and bassist Corry Rideout, though T.N.T. share far more in common with Terrence's late 2000s punk band Good Morning Gorilla than his hardcore bass work. Since their debut, The Northern Tragedy have became a dependable sight at assorted shows, including sets opening for out of town bands like The Golers, Warsenal, and Dearly Beloved, plus appearances at the Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands, an outdoor festival in Bruce Mines, and most recently, opening for Skynet and Chronobot at 180 Projects in March. The Northern Tragedy have also released two demo EPs already (one self-titled, one named "Home Ice") that have been sold at shows and at The Rad Zone, and you can pick up both on a "name your price" model right now at their Bandcamp page.

Playing a no-frills yet entertaining punk style with originals and select covers, The Northern Tragedy have supplied many local shows with an added punk boost over the last year & a half. Very solid sound with driving and catchy rhythms, fitting vocals, they just need to continue working on their stage presence, but they're getting there! Follow The Northern Tragedy above and at their Facebook, Soundcloud, and CBC Music pages, and here are the guys playing their song "3 2 4" at The Rockstar Bar last spring, courtesy of their two-video YouTube channel!

Third to be "introduced" today is another local punk trio that has attained notable success in the area, that being Redundant! Launched under the name Motion Carried in early 2011, their current lineup includes Thrill Junkies bandmates Justin Langlois (formerly of The Scary Uncles) on vocals & guitar and Rick White (also of Frightlight) on drums, with Rick's brother James (also from Caveman Morrison) on bass, while Jamie Whalen was their original bassist in the Motion Carried days. Debuting on stage in February 2011, Redundant have since opened for the likes of Kittie, The Rebel Spell, The Fairmounts, and The Brains, went on tour to Sudbury and Southern Ontario, played at the 2011 Hempfest, and appeared at 9 of the former Roosevelt Hotel's Thursday night metal & punk shows. Redundant hit the studio to record original material in 2012, and later signed with Alpha Dog Records, but a known formal CD release has yet to occur. Redundant were last seen playing at Medifest at The Grand Theatre in March, and have been fairly quiet since.

Redundant's fun blend of up-tempo originals and select covers (including some off-the-wall ones) has carried them to a solid fanbase throughout the 2010s so far, gamely picking up where The Scary Uncles left off! With three recognizable local musicians, an entertaining Green Day-inspired sound, and plenty of experience, a Redundant set is always worth checking out, and you can see a full one at what's now Coch's Corner below! Check out more material and info from Redundant at their website, and their pages on Facebook, Reverbnation, and YouTube!

Finally for this first punk introductory post is quite possibly the biggest punk/alternative band to ever come out of the Soo, that being Treble Charger! Originally named NC-17, the band was originally active from 1992-2006, releasing five albums ("NC-17", "Self Title", "Maybe It's Me", "Wide Awake Bored", and "Detox"), with three going at least gold in Canada, and all but their debut being nominated for a Juno Award for either Best Alternative or Rock Album. Best remembered for hit songs like "Even Grable", "Friend of Mine", and "American Psycho", Treble Charger's original lineup featured singer/guitarist Greig Nori, guitarist Bill Priddle, bassist Rosie Martin, and drummer Morris Palter, while their longest serving lineup featured drummer Trevor MacGregor. Other performers included 1997 session drummer Mike Levesque & 2003-2004 live guitarist Devin Bronson, while touring performers Dave MacMillan & Jason Pierce have played with Greig & Bill at their recent gigs. Treble Charger were among the inaugural inductees in the Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame in 2006, and after a lengthy breakup, Greig & Bill reunited for occasional gigs in 2012, most recently playing at the KOI Music Festival in Kitchener last fall.

Treble Charger have certainly accomplished a ton in the past two decades, and whether you like their early-mid 1990s indie rock sound or their later pop punk style more, they live up to their reputation throughout, showing clear skill and songwriting ability! Myself, I prefer their later more aggressive work, but I concede that their earlier work is more mature in tone. They've never forgotten their local roots either, playing here twice since reuniting (most recently at a Searchmont fundraiser last January) and many times originally. I don't know when their next dates are, but follow their Twitter, Facebook, & Tumblr pages for the latest news, and here are Treble Charger live in their original heyday!

I hope you guys liked our first of our added punk band showcase posts, and we definitely have more to come soon! To keep things a surprise, I won't spoil what bands will be featured next, but I have enough for one, maybe two more posts of active punk bands to share, and there's plenty of familiar faces to come! Until then, stay tuned for a huge post concerning a local music festival later today! Thanks everyone!

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